Monthly Archives: February 2012

Technology

Useful Links: February 2012

A list of items I’ve come across recently that I found potentially useful, interesting, or just plain funny:

Technology

Raspberry Pi: a case study for using cloud infrastructure?

In common with many thousands of geeks up and down the country, I set my alarm for just before 06:00 today for the big Raspberry Pi “announcement”.

The team at Raspberry Pi had done a great job of keeping the community informed – and I was really impressed that they gave everyone a chance to hear where to buy their miniature computers at the same time. Unfortunately the Raspberry Pi announcement didn’t quite have the intended result as it effectively “slashdotted” the websites for both of the distributors (RS Components and Farnell).

Whilst Raspberry Pi had moved their site to a static page in anticipation, the electronics retailers probably aren’t used to their products being in such demand and both buckled under the load.  Which left me wondering… I know Raspberry Pi’s goal is to support the UK electronics industry (hence the choice of distributors and not simply selling via Amazon.co.uk or similar) but surely this is a case study for how a cloud-based solution could have scaled to cope with demand? Perhaps by redirecting Raspberry Pi purchasers to a site that could scale (e.g. on Amazon Web Services), still fulfilled by RS and Farnell?

Grumpy with RS and Farrell for not taking #raspberrypi traffic warnings seriously. @ must be gutted, but stoked by interest!
@edgillett
Ed Gillett

It didn’t help that the links given were to the main pages (not deep links). I got in during the first 5 minutes at RS and followed the instructions (“Search for Raspberry Pi, and then follow the normal shopping and checkout process.”) only to find that there was a “register your interest” page but no purchase option. A few minutes later, Raspberry Pi said on Twitter that was the wrong page, and I couldn’t find the right one from a site search. Later in the morning, reports on Twitter suggested that RS are not putting Raspberry Pi on sale until the end of the week…

RS *not* sold out of Raspberry Pis - not opening sales until the end of the week. Hope they beef up their servers before then!
@ghalfacree
Gareth Halfacree

[It now seems that doesn’t fit with RS Components’ Raspberry Pi press release]

With the mainstream news sites and even breakfast TV now running Raspberry Pi stories, the interest will be phenomenal and I’m sure Raspberry Pi can sell many more devices than they can manufacture, but I can’t help feeling they’ve been badly let down by distributors who didn’t take their warnings seriously.

We're so frustrated about the DDOS effect - and apparently some of you are VERY ANGRY. We're really sorry; it's out of our hands.
@Raspberry_Pi
Raspberry Pi

Or, as one open source advocate saw it:

Absolutely fantastic! @ sale brings down #RS & #Farnell. Shows there's massive demand for computers for learning. #opensource

With any luck, my success at registering interest from RS at about 06:03 this morning will have worked. Failing that, I guess I’ll have to wait a little longer…

[Update 07:49 – added link to RS Components press release]

Technology

Getting to grips with the Amazon Kindle

It takes a special gadget to capture my wife’s attention but the Amazon Kindle seems to have done quite well. Actually, I think that the Kindle’s success is largely down to the fact that it appeals to non-geeks (the low price helps) but I recently bought Mrs W. one as a present.

It was my first experience of using one of these devices (I’ve only used the Kindle app on iOS or Windows Phone until now) but it really couldn’t have been much simpler to set up. This is the latest incarnation of the Kindle (the Kindle 4 – officially known as “Kindle, Wi-Fi, 6″ E Ink Display“) and when it arrived, I wasn’t sure whether to open the “frustration free” packaging to find another box inside and wrap it as a gift, It turns out that the brown, wedge-shaped box with the word Kindle on the side and a rip-tab is the actual product packaging (typically functional and no-frills, but substantial enough to prevent damage).

After unboxing, all that was needed was to:

  • Plug the Kindle into a computer using the supplied USB cable.
  • Select the language.
  • Connect to a Wi-Fi network (using the soft keyboard).
  • Register (in this case, to an existing Amazon account – more on that in a moment).

That’s all the basics to get going but, in the Manage Your Kindle section of the Amazon website I also:

  • Edited the name (not much point my wife having a device that had defaulted to “Mark’s Kindle”).
  • Added an email address from which to receive personal documents (if emailed to the Kindle).

At this point it’s probably worth mentioning something about sharing Kindles.  Because I’ve been using the Kindle app on my devices, it made sense that we should be able to share publications with one another. Unfortunately, sharing requires the use of a single account (hence why my wife’s new Kindle was automatically named “Mark’s Kindle” and why the welcome note is addressed to me…). In the United States, there are limited options to lend books but it’s not universal, and it’s far from the model that we see in print (walk to shelf; pick up book; give to friend; friend returns book at some stage a few weeks later) – although I did find an interesting analogy on the Amazon website.

With multiple Kindles on one account:

  • We can select purchases individually but they are charged to one card.
  • Purchases using the Kindle will go to the Kindle being used at the time.
  • Purchases from the Amazon website can be sent to whichever Kindle is chosen.
  • Any purchase made can be also loaded onto other Kindles on the same account.

I’m not sure how easy it would be to damage the E Ink display but I didn’t want to take the chance – we bought a cover for Mrs W.’s Kindle which does have the downside of increasing weight and volume but also looks quite nice.  Amazon’s official cover is expensive (the one with a built-in light is even more so) but there are plenty of third-party alternatives available (the one I bought was less than £10 from Amazon.co.uk).

Overall, I’m pretty impressed with the Kindle. Strangely, buying one for my wife has increased my use of the Kindle app on my iPad (partly due to our increased use of our Amazon account) and a Kindle Fire could well be my next tablet, assuming they make it to the UK before the rumoured iPad Mini…

Technology

Deleting large quantities of Facebook notes

A few years ago, I followed the example of a “social media guru” and set Facebook up to consume my blog’s RSS feed and republish each post as a note.

This was A Bad Thing for a number of reasons, not least:

  1. Copyright – I’m sure that when I upload anything to Facebook, I give them some rights over it (which is why my images are still on Flickr).
  2. Traffic – reproducing content on Facebook might get eyeballs, but it takes that traffic away from your own website and only Facebook gains any revenue. This may be OK if you are selling goods/services that can be monetised via Facebook links but my revenue is from ads: ads on my site = revenue for me; ads on a Facebook copy = revenue for Facebook.
  3. Layout – invariably, despite my best efforts to write good XHTML, the blog posts look better on my site than when scraped into Facebook as notes.

I turned off the feed but deleting the notes was far from trivial. There is no bulk delete option that I can find, and that meant opening each note, scrolling down, clicking delete, etc. In a word, tedious.

I forgot about the notes until last week, when I switched over to timeline view. Arghh. Yes. Must delete those…

…and then I found another method – much quicker – using the iOS Facebook app.

By opening the Notes section of the Facebook app on my iPad, a quick swipe and press was all it took to delete each note. Still tedious, but a lot quicker to get through…

Technology

Locating Office 365 invoices

Unlike me, who is not VAT-registered and only does his company accounts once a year when he needs to submit a tax return (usually on or around the last possible day…), my wife needs to be a bit more organised and, since she shares the same Office 365 hosting arrangements, I needed to dig out some VAT invoices for her today.  I can never remember how to do this, so maybe blogging it will help me in a few months’ time (and may help someone else too)…

  1. Sign into the customer portal.
  2. On the admin page, on the left pane, under Subscription, click Manage.
  3. Click on the plan name – for me, that’s Microsoft Office 365 (Plan P1).
  4. On the subscription details page click View bill.

If you want to download/print a bill, printable invoices and a graphical billing history are available (links in the top-right corner of the Online Bill portal)

Incidentally, I hadn’t previously noticed that the rate of VAT on my account is 23% – that’s because it’s billed in Ireland, allegedly to avoid* UK corporation tax…

 

*Tax avoidance is legal, even if morally dubious (particularly on the scale at which large corporations work). Evasion would not be

Waffle and randomness

Hopping Mad in Olney

Top Notch Hop NotchThis is a technology blog but, every now and again, I find a way to weave in something different and, if I were a betting man, I’d say that more than a few of my readers like the occasional beer…

I’m a relatively recent convert to the world of real ale. Maybe it’s a maturity thing but I used to drink lager in my teens and early 20s, moving on to Guinness for most of my 30s but, more recently I’ve  switched to what my Dad would have called proper beer. But, unlike Dad, my preference is less for mass-brewed stuff (although I am partial to a St Austell Tribute or few) – instead I like to try a local ale when I’m out and about.

That’s why the opportunity to visit my local micro-brewery (Hopping Mad, brewing just around the corner in Olney) was not to be missed. The evening was organised by the Newport Pagnell and Olney Lions Club and, although I have nothing to do with the Lions, I was a guest for a fish and chip supper washed down with free-flowing ale – quite possibly the ultimate  “p***-up in a brewery”…

David explains allHopping Mad Brewers Limited was established in July 2010 by (entrepreneur and beer enthusiast) Matthew Hargreaves and (experienced business operations manager) David Wright. After searching for a suitable location in the Northampton, Milton Keynes, and Bedford area, they settled on Olney, which has been a great base for the company – situated close to the boundaries of three counties and, whilst the town itself is small (with a population of around 6000), the surrounding area has a population of close on one million people.

Initially known as Amazing Ales (a play on words around the hymn Amazing Grace, the most famous of the Olney Hymns), the Hopping Mad name seemed a much better fit as it describes how they are “mad passionate” about beers – and the strapline of “brewing just around the bend” is a nice touch too.  After signing the lease to take on the unit where the brewery is sited on Yardley Road, they prepared the site with additional drainage, decoration, etc. and began to source some equipment.

(Near) unlimited samplingHopping Mad is a “15-barrel brewery” – a term derived from the capacity to brew 15 brewers’ barrels of beer at once (more volume than a 5 barrel setup for a similar amount of effort). It’s no co-incidence that there is a lot of equipment on the second-hand market from brewers moving up to a 30 barrel setup and the core of Hopping Mad’s equipment was obtained from Yates Brewery in Cumbria (who were moving to a larger installation). Additional fermenting vessels were purchased elsewhere and work started on brewing the beer in mid-2010.

Matthew and David were determined to “get it right first time” as people will try local produce once but there is no second chance if it’s not up to scratch, so they took advice from the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), local publicans (including Reg Pearson at the Robin Hood in Clifton Reynes) and others (including Graeme Baxter at Yates’).  They’ve been well supported by local free houses (unfortunately tied houses are generally unable to select the ales they might like, except perhaps for special events) as well as retailing directly to consumers (with 5 and 10 litre draught casks, 72 pint casks and, soon, 500ml bottles) although the emphasis is very much on getting people into pubs to drink beer and direct retail is primarily aimed at brand-building.  Whilst Hopping Mad beers can be found across the country, the vision is one of a well-known brand within a 40-mile radius of Olney.

Cask aleI won’t try to explain the process of brewing (I took a lot of notes, but I’m sure they are incomplete – the British Brewing Association has a description of the brewing process too) but each brew produces 15 brewers barrels (60 firkins/540 gallons/4320 pints). At present, the brewery produces two or three brews a week but is hoping to increase that to four by the end of 2012, with five as an eventual target.

A micro-brewery is defined as one that produces less than 500,000 litres a year and this micro-brewery status reduces the amount of duty to be paid by 50%. As a bonded warehouse, Hopping Mad pays duty at the point of sale and, with five staff, the brewery’s major costs are split are split between ingredients (including the use of premium Maris Otter barley), labour and duty.

At the moment, Hopping Mad have five ales in production:
Pump clips

  • Brainstorm (4.3% ABV) is a traditional best bitter and was the first Hopping Mad beer, often taken by pubs as a guest ale.
  • Fruitcase (4.5% ABV) came next, as a fruity golden ale.
  • Hop Notch (3.6% ABV) is Hopping Mad’s session beer – malty and tasty and even though it’s relatively weak, it tastes like a stronger beer [I can testify to this… I’m sure that mostly drinking Hop Notch was one reason I didn’t suffer a hangover the day after my brewery visit].
  • Balmy Days (3.9% ABV) was originally a summer ale but some pubs have taken it as a permanent line (it works well with curries, etc.).
  • Amazing Grace (4.4% ABV) is aimed at festivals, brewed less frequently (perhaps once a month).

There’s a sixth beer on the website too: Hoppiness (3.7% ABV) is another fine English Ale, with a hoppy taste (as the name suggests).

I asked the best way to keep the beer (for example, the 5 litre draught casks that I buy from time to time) and, after the initial guffaws from around the room about keeping beer (rather than drinking) it, Reg from the Robin Hood suggested to keep it at around 10-12 degrees (otherwise it’s too cold to taste, but not too warm either). Matthew and David explained that, whilst beer does have a “best before” date it is essentially a stable product and the “best before” date is exactly that – a date before which to enjoy the beer as intended (i.e. it’s about consistency) as any contact between the yeast and oxygen will cause secondary brewing that may affect the taste.

After having got off to a great start over the last 18 months, Hopping Mad are not standing still. I was fortunate enough to taste a not-quite-finished dark ale called Black Jack and there are plans for an American-style pale ale of around ABV 5% in the summer, as well as a winter warmer towards the end of the year [I’m looking forward to that one!].  As for the future, whilst there was talk of a longer term vision to malting in-house (a return to local, sustainable, business), Matthew and David’s immediate goals are about improving their beers, pushing the reputation of the brand and continuing the quality. Amen to that!

You can learn more about Hopping Mad including details of shops and pubs that stock the beers at HoppingMad.com.* Hopping Mad is also on Facebook, and recently featured on Anglia News.

 

*not .co.uk – the domain squatters there were too greedy!

[markwilson.it has no affiliation with Hopping Mad, but I do like to support local businesses, and they do produce some very fine ales!]

[Updated 22 February 2012: thanks to Bill Beton for pointing out the correct spelling for Maris Otter barley]
[Updated 23 February 2012: New links to Hopping Mad’s Facebook pages, and Anglia News package]

Technology

Removing backgrounds from images in PowerPoint 2007

One particularly useful feature in PowerPoint 2010 is the ability to remove backgrounds from images. Unfortunately for me, since I returned to using a corporate PC build (after years of building my own, I succumbed to the standard build as the bureaucracy of adding a machine to the domain, installing encryption software, etc. became too much to bear) I’ve gone back to  Office 2007 and that feature is no longer available to me.

But there is a way – last week I found out how to remove the background from an image in PowerPoint 2007.  By selecting the image, then chosing Recolor from the Format menu, it’s possible to Set Transparent Color.

Obviously this is not as simple as in PowerPoint 2010, and it will only work for plain backgrounds, but it can still come in useful at times…

Technology

Using LinkedIn as a B2B social media platform (#smwmecsocial #smwldn)

Yesterday, I wrote about an event I’d attended as part of Social Media Week London, hosted by MEC Global, looking at thought leadership and B2B social media. For reasons of brevity, I skipped over much of LinkedIn‘s presentation in my original post but it provided a lot of insights that I would like to share… so here’s the follow-up!

LinkedIn’s Colin Smith was talking about the role of social in a digital ecosystem and he started out by saying that social media in 2011 was a bit of a knee-jerk reaction to an emerging audience, with organisations testing campaigns and activity, predicting that 2012 will be the year when social gets down to business.

Brands are now what people say they are, and:

“The impact of social media is far-reaching,well beyond how we connect with our friends.It has changed how we work. It is changing how we make markets. It has, critically, re-leveled the playing field.”

[George Gallate, Global Chairman, Euro RSCG 4D]

Citing various statistics from a recent CIM/Ipsos ASI study (Social Media Benchmark), Colin Smith highlighted that:

  • Consumers want to be engaged in a conversation – not sold to.
  • Brands are now what people say they are.
  • Business is evolving – moving from transactional to relational. This affects the speed to close deals, the size of those deals and the length of the relationship.
  • Liking, sharing and commenting are all emotions – we need to build an emotional relationship with our customers [I agree: people buy from people – not brands, although there are some brands that will always be considered “safe bets”].
  • Decision cycles in B2B take longer than in B2C – longevity makes a difference in the relationship.
  • People will, on average, follow just 2.8 companies in a given sector, but 50% will follow a company in perpetuity – so you want to your brand to be in that 2.8!
  • Don’t forget that your staff  have profiles, engage with, and are probably connected to competitors and customers – people will check what your staff profiles look like.
  • Sometimes you’ll know that someone is talking about you, sometimes you don’t – some reactions will be negative and some positive.

It’s important to consider that customers have [LinkedIn – and other social network] profiles too. Before they come to meetings they will check out yours, your staff, your company page, what people are saying and come armed – you need to do the same. They follow, like, share, comment – and expect engagement. They connect to your staff and communicate with them. And they will trust you if communicate and share useful information.

  • Social hygiene is about the ways in which people [your audience: customers; staff; business partners] expect you to engage. It’s about having an authentic voice and sharing. Businesses have a challenge to be open, authentic, honest, engaging.
  • Don’t just ask an agency to do this – it needs to go to the core of the business – the CEO, or others who are senior enough and have the credibility [and charisma] to speak on behalf of a brand.
  • Think about social media in the context of employment – it reflects your brand (even if you don’t employ someone they may make buying decisions elsewhere).

Colin gave some advice for engaging on LinkedIn:

  • Engagement starts with creating a presence, for example, a company page built out on LinkedIn. Many of these are generated through algorithms so claim yours and make it say what you need it to.
  • Once you have the presence right, think about who want to attract (think about a specific audience – CEOs, CIOs, procurement advisors, etc.) – LinkedIn can target specific audiences. Samsung ran a LinkedIn campaign and gained 20000 followers in 3 days. Mercedes were looking at just the C-suite and gained 12000 followers in 5 weeks. These are not just big numbers, they are highly targetted and therefore the reach is potentially significant.
  • Continue to engage through company status updates – provide value at scale. LinkedIn has found that 45% would like weekly updates.
  • Amplify – as with engagement, think who followers are connected to (LinkedIn average is 151 connections per person).
  • The only cost is building a content strategy, the hard bit is acquiring followers.
  • Groups can be used to position a company as a thought leader in an existing conversation or a topic that’s important. For example, Statoil is facilitating a conversation for people to talk about energy innovation. A strategy for content will be required when the group is first started (initial 3-6 months) after which it should take on a life of its own.

Involving your brand in a social conversation

Finally, Colin gave some tips for better use of LinkedIn [although many of these could equally be applied to other channels]:

  1. Improve your company page to attract a more relevant audience.
  2. Consider engagement with followers – questions and topics to seed into a group.
  3. Members expect insights and news from companies they follow: 66% expect industry insight; 65% expect upcoming company news (advance information before it hits the press); 45% expect the opportunity to join a group; 45% expect sneak peeks of upcoming products and services; and 43% desire inclusion in a community with similar interests.
  4. Interrogate the social hygiene of your company.
  5. Work across departments so that all customer-facing departments have profiles that are relevant to your company – make sure your brand is represented across the board with links to company pages, blogs, etc. Think about whether modifying a LinkedIn profile is part of the induction process for new employees – and, equally, what people say when they leave.

As an individual, I don’t use LinkedIn as a daily destination – it’s still about professional networking for me. For daily conversations, I prefer the immediacy of Twitter (besides, some of my tweets are more suitable for that audience – and the frequency would  just be too high for LinkedIn) but I took a lot away from this presentation about how brands might better engage on the platform.

One thing’s for sure, as MEC’s Shane O’Byrne highlighted at yesterday’s event, B2B social media requires effort on the part of the company, and cannot just be left to an agency. That means applying resource, possibly dedicated, but certainly as part of their work (not as an add-on to do “in their spare time”) to generate content that makes an audience want to engage.  That’s been the challenge that I’ve struggled with in my own work on corporate blogs and other B2B social media activities over the last couple of years – and making a B2B brand become “social” is a lot more work than simply setting up a few accounts on major platforms…

Technology

Thought leadership and B2B social media (#smwmecsocial #smwldn)

This week is Social Media Week in London and there are a lot of events taking place at a variety of locations. I’m not London-based, but I do work there for a couple of days each week and I booked onto some that look particularly relevant to my role – the first of which was hosted by the social media team at MEC Global (@MECsocial), looking at thought leadership and the role of social media in B2B communications.

To be honest, it was a bit light in places on the “thought leadership” angle (MEC covered this, the invited guests less so) but I was pleased to see someone taking a serious look at B2B social media. In my experience most of the “advice” given at events like this is very B2C (or even C2C)-focused and when asking about specific challenges for B2B it’s often brushed under the carpet.

With presentations from MEC Global, LinkedIn and the Telegraph Media Group, followed by a panel discussion, there was a lot of information provided but I’d like to concentrate on just a few highlights.

Organisational considerations for social media

MEC’s Shane O’Byrne (@shaneysean) opened up the event with some organisational considerations for B2B social media. Taking the view that, in stark contrast to B2C (which is 80% agency, 20% client), B2B social media requires more client input (the 80:20 split is reversed), with the agency helping organisations to deliver thought leadership externally. Considerations include:

  • Hard vs. soft approach.
  • Thought leadership.
  • Lead generation.
  • C-suite.
  • Sales.
  • Credibility.
  • Prospect.

And, whilst Shane didn’t go into detail (after all, he’s showing just an insight – let’s call it thought leadership – maybe I should engage with MEC for more detail), in general, it’s about bringing people into a community, thinking about when to approach and move them down the pipeline, and shaping conversations with potential clients rather than selling.

Thought leadership may include advice about the marketplace, culture, political landscape, and even some “crystal ball” gazing; and Shane has seen success in organisations who have found the right seniority of stakeholders using a social media council – working as experts to nurture talent and expertise, turning that into rich content for digital ecosystem.

That digital ecosystem was a topic of conversation for LinkedIn’s Colin Smith and, I’ll hold back on that for a future blog post but Richard Fitzgerald, also from MEC (@fitzyrichard) spoke about the need to avoid treating social media in isolation – integrating with other channels.

Richard recommends setting a mission statement – whether that is a philosophy, a brand campaign, a goal, or a business objective, and building on top of that.  In terms of time allocation, a rough split might be:

  • 70% resource planning, data and insights, content audits, market analysis, futures studies (what are people expecting to hear about?).
  • 20% community management – engagement strategy, moderation guidelines, escalation documents, editorial guidelines, content calendars.
  • 10% for the unpredictable – breaking news, crisis management, reactive content, real time engagement and tactical campaigns.

Social is another means of communication, to be ignored at your peril

Matthew Margetts and Jonathan Davies spoke about the Telegraph Media Group’s experiences of social media, which they regard as another means of communicating and not as superseding a web presence or any other form of communication.

I was particularly interested to hear about their experience of digital media consumption. The Telegraph Media Group is a brand, a content provider and it has commercial solutions (with declining newspaper sales but new markets including competition applications, social video, bespoke applications and Twitter). And, on that last point – Twitter as a channel:

1.6m people consume @ content every day - a further million on Twitter (not monetised: http://t.co/DVDc7z9V) #smwmecsocial #smwldn
@markwilsonit
Mark Wilson

That shows that Twitter should not be ignored and, although monetising the output might be a challenge, there are opportunities to establish presence, create a groundswell of opinion, establish oneself as a thought leader, and become a recognised (and respected) brand – all of which have positive effects later – even if they don’t lead to direct sales.

Pick your channels with care; and who owns that social profile?

The event finished up with a panel discussion and there were two main areas of interest for me here.

Firstly, there’s a lot of talk about relative sizes of social networks (Facebook is huge, Twitter is pretty big too, Google+ may be significant too, and LinkedIn is relatively small) but then think about the audience that you are targetting.

Think about context for B2B socmed. LinkedIn connects professionals but only 640m professionals in world, 12.5m in UK #smwmecsocial #smwldn
@markwilsonit
Mark Wilson

This tweet is based on information given by Colin Smith from LinkedIn and, whilst it clearly plays into LinkedIn’s market position (connecting professional people), I think it makes a powerful point: perhaps the majority of those 800m people on Facebook are not actually your target audience?  Perhaps Saleforce.com Chatter might serve an organisation well, in a B2B context?

Finally, who owns your social profiles? Well, I’m pretty determined that I own my LinkedIn presence, this blog, my Twitter stream, etc., many of which predate my employment, but a communications director might take a different view, said the panel!  One argument is that you learned the points that you communicated whilst you were working for the company (but do we? Some might argue that we build personal brands, based on experience with a variety of roles and employments). There may be cultural differences between personal and company accounts and Matthew Margetts highlighted that The Telegraph has guidelines but, equally, it employs “contrarian thinkers who are encouraged to give their opinions”. Maybe some brands are threatened by the rise of the “personal brand” – that will depend on the company and the market. One thing’s for sure – this particular issue is far from clear cut and looks set to become more and more significant, most likely to be settled in the courts…

Technology

Useful to know: Google Chrome has its own task manager

Earlier today, I was wondering why I was seeing a “missing plug-in” message in Google Chrome on a number of websites that I regularly view. I loaded the same websites in Internet Explorer and they worked OK, so something had obviously gone screwy inside Chrome. I could have guessed – it was Flash, although normally I get a yellow bar to tell me that has stopped working.

I rebooted my PC yesterday, so I don’t plan to do that again for another couple of weeks (until the memory leak that one of my apps has gets so bad that I’m forced to…) but I googled missing plug-in google chrome to see what comes up. As it happens, Chrome has a task manager built in (press shift and escape).  After ending the Shockwave Flash process, I refreshed the offending page(s) and everything worked as it should.

By then I was intrigued by the stats for nerds link which takes me to chrome://memory-redirect/ – an internal page that contains a breakdown of activity by process (including which tabs are managed by which processes) – which would have been handy to know about when Chrome had gobbled up a good chunk of my RAM earlier this week:

Any tips for restricting Chrome's memory usage? Running ~60-70% CPU and ~80-85% RAM on a 4GB Windows x64 system: http://t.co/dDMehXbN
@markwilsonit
Mark Wilson

If anyone knows a similar memory management function for Internet Explorer, I’d be pleased to hear it as the relationship between tabs and processes seems to be a black art (and it may help to chase down problematic tabs) – I’ve tried Process Explorer and Windows Task Manager in the past, but it would be useful IE functionality…

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